Have you ever wondered why sometimes when you ask for something it’s easy and then all of a sudden it’s not? Turns out there are two very distinct ways of asking for help (if you even do ask at all!) and the two cultures often clash!

The first is the Direct Asker who simply asks a direct question and see what happens – no harm, no stress if you get a “No”. The other culture is the Indirect Asker who tests the waters in a conversation to see if someone would have a positive reaction to their request. Neither way of asking is right or wrong, but how much smoother would your interactions be if you had the ability to do both?

If you are a direct asker …

If you are a direct asker you have no problem asking your questions point-blank. You get so much more done (and you get so much more help!) because you are willing to ask a question, receive the information and then make your choices from there.

However, when you start asking questions to someone who is used to indirectly asking for things, you might find that they start to feel uncomfortable with your abrupt and direct line of fire. This clash can create disjointed energy between you and this person. If you find yourself sensing this energy, start by having a conversation to discuss what you require.

Use questions like:
  • Hey, what do you think of…. [proposed idea]
  • I’m looking for help with…. [request you would normally directly ask]
  • Hey, do you know anyone who could help me with… [task]

When an indirect asker starts a conversation with you, prompt them to elaborate on what their thought process is so that they can give you more information about what they have been trying to subtly tell you. When you are in this position, ask yourself this: What is this person waiting to be asked that I could offer a conversation about?

If you are a direct asker, start having more indirect conversations with people. You will quickly recognize those who prefer it when you ask in this way and who are more willing to offer you help because of it.

If you are an indirect asker …

If you are an indirect asker then you usually test the waters by offering a conversation and subtly hinting at your question.

You’re hoping that the other person will take the bait and just offer you the help. If you are talking to someone who is used to asking questions in this way, then they will usually do this. However, if the person is used to being asked direct questions, then they will just think you are having a conversation and they don’t know that you are actually asking for something.

If you are an indirect asker, start asking for things point-blank. Harsh question… are you ready? How much time are you wasting by being indirect, when it really doesn’t really require that? Asking for something directly may fill you with anxiety, but you’re going to notice that once you start asking those questions it’s actually no big deal!

Your homeplay:

State your request, ask for what you want.

  • Hey, can you help me with that?
  • Do I really need X, are you up for that?
  • I want to do X, want to help/come/do it?

What would your life be like if you developed the ability to ask both directly and indirectly? How much more smoothly would you be able to walk through the world? If you are a direct asker, start to have more indirect conversations. If you are an indirect asker, make your request known! You are going to have the most uncomfortable and fun time, but it is going to change your life. See what shows up, because I guarantee it’s easier than you think…. ; )

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